Mother and children fight the americans together

Following the sudden capitulation of the French in 1954, North Vietnam became self governing for the first time in almost a century. Under Ho Chi Minh's leadership, a Party with an entirely new revolutionary political ideology infused with nationalism and the cause of nationhood, came into power.

One of the many actions of the new Government was to immediately commence the implementation of its long cherished educational policy manifesto in which it had promised to provide an education for all children up to college/university entrance level. This new endeavor faced many difficulties in having to deal with a vast rural population conditioned by traditional conservative Mandarin and Confucian ideas of education, class, landownership, and women's rights, coupled with almost a century of French colonial and Catholic -nuanced rule. It required a revolution in education that was inseparable and in tandem with an agrarian revolution.

Under the French, possibilities for children to obtain an education were very limited and only available to a small elite group. Ironically, many of the leaders of the revolution were graduates of the French education system, not least Ho Chi Minh himself, as well as a number of the artists represented in this Collection.

The abrupt abdication of colonial control and the artificial division of the Country left the Northern Government with a fragile under-developed economy and a critical shortage of schools and teachers. The process of building a comprehensive schooling system had humble beginnings, but was commenced as a matter of urgency despite the numerous difficulties the country faced.

The rare original posters in the first section of this Gallery open a unique window on the period leading up to the pivotal year of 1965, when the shadows of B52s and their deadly bombloads fell over North Vietnam. This was the same year Hollywood made the acclaimed movie, The Sound of Music, the Righteous Brothers released their hauntingly beautiful song Unchained Melody, and the Rolling Stones recorded Satisfaction. Indeed, it was this same year that the omnipotent United States Air Force unleashed Operation Rolling Thunder, the campaign to systematically bomb North Vietnam. General Curtis Le May, the US Air Force Chief of Staff, then declared his determination to 'bomb the North back into the Stone Age'

These earlier posters are especially interesting for their message; note that there is hardly ever a gun in sight.